The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3
Valentine's Day is, once again, here with all its red, pink, and white colors. A day of flowers, candy, teddy bears, greeting cards. Even with a troubled economy, as you walk through stores you see the many colors of the season with the accompanying displays saying "buy, buy, buy." Gone are the days of my childhood when a little paper homemade Valentine is sufficient and all that was expected on this day in the form of a gift were a few little heart shaped tiny candies with the words "be mine" or "be my valentine."
I'm thankful today for the twelve red roses from my husband; thankful for this sweet expression of love once again given on this day. I'm also thankful that he remembered Neesie this year, giving her a bunch of pink roses, which meant so much to her. But mostly today, I'm reflecting on the love note I read this morning. I remembered having received this expression of love time and time again, but it came to me afresh as I laid in bed during the early moments of the day. I decided I wanted to come right out and read it again and post the words here. " I have loved you with an everlasting love." What can be better than that?
As these words permeated my heart this morning, my thoughts went to several folks, some whom I know personally; some whom I've never met or ever will meet. But this love note is reaching out to them too. I can't explain why the circumstances of their lives are such that they need to have the touch of these words so much more specifically than others may at this time. But, as I said recently, "Who has known the mind of the Lord?" All I know is, I hope and pray that these dear people whose struggles are more intense than mine at this particular season of life, today, on this Valentine's Day of 2009, will know and experience the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. It's an everlasting love.
This is just a partial list; there are even others I've not mentioned:
A young woman, two months pregnant, who was widowed last night when her twenty-five year old husband, a Philadelphia police officer, was gunned down in the course of carrying out his work.
A woman I know well, in her early forties, who has two children ages ten and seven, who is on the last leg of her journey here on earth. Her breast cancer has spread to her lungs and other parts of her body, and her desire is that she may continue to be on her feet and care for her family until the very end.
A woman from my church who buried her husband in November and found out in January that she has cancer which has spread to several organs in her body. She's awaiting test results to determine how to proceed.
A dear friend of many years, who I had lunch with on Thursday while her husband was undergoing one of the many incidences of needed blood transfusions. Much of her time these days is spent driving her husband back and forth for chemo treatments for his leukemia. He's been weakened lately by a severe cough that he's been unable to shake off.
A friend of the blog world whose husband recently unexpectedly left her and their family. I don't know the circumstances and don't need to know. All that I do know is that she and her family are mourning their loss.
A lady from church who drives almost an hour each way, twice each Sunday. She travels this journey alone, because her husband and sons no longer want to have anything to do with the church. Not only that, she is not being treated kindly (to put it mildly) about her commitment to Christ and His church. And may I add, I seldom see her or talk to her that she doesn't have a smile on her face.
Christians I read about in Voice of the Martyrs magazine and get emails about, as well as in my persecution blog feed, who are burned, tortured, slashed, imprisoned, and on and on. They're in China, Indonesia, Eritrea, Iran, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and more places than I care to mention.
I hope I haven't made you sad. But these are realities of life that I'm unwilling to forget about on this usually happy day set aside to express our love to others. Not only is this an expression of my heart, but a request for prayer from you as you read through this list of people whom you will probably never know. But God knows just who they are, and while I can't answer for Him as to why He would have them to go through what they are going through, I feel quite certain that each of us at some time or another will have to go through SOMETHING on this earthly journey. While we're going through it, I hope we'll all remember this wonderful "note" of love: "I have loved you with an everlasting love."